Most Gainfully Employed have the benefits of receiving a regular paycheck and seeing their year to date totals earned and deducted. They know who to contact if there are discrepancies. The Gainfully Unemployed freelancer can receive checks from numerous one time only and returning clients, which makes keeping track of received and accurate payments a challenge. We may accept various methods of payment: check, PayPal, etc. Usually we’re not paid on a regular basis, nor do we have automatic deposit. So we can’t know when income from certain jobs will arrive or keep track of what we’ve earned just by glancing at a single W-2.
I’ve created a many-column Excel chart listing all the jobs I’ve done, for who, what I’m supposed to get paid, when I do, etc. I can tell at a glance how this year compares to last year, and who has or hasn’t compensated me.
So far I’ve only had one client who hasn’t paid. If an independently acquired client doesn’t pay in a timely manner, we have to be our own collections department. I’m still trying to track the money down, but the voiceover for a TV commercial in another state, which I got from a trusted online site, was completed a few months ago. I know it can take awhile for production companies to get paid by their clients, and they usually don’t pay the talent until they are paid. This production company, however, didn’t say they too were awaiting payment.
At one point, the client actually told me the check was in the mail. When days went by and I told him I still hadn’t received it, he emailed that he’d check on the check.
It’s not easy to know how often to send reminders, or the appropriate tone to take as time passes. Do I stick with something like, “Please remit at your earliest convenience,” or get more demanding?
Will I get stiffed? Time will tell.